A chat with Red Hat's Matt Hicks on his path from developer to CEO (Ep. 495)

Sometimes the path from IC to CEO is learning that you love being a coach.

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Yep, we know a bunch of you are thinking, “nope, no C-suite for me today.” Managing people dynamics? Doing things other than coding? Being responsible for a P&L, accountable to a board, and managing headcount? Before you stop reading, consider the case of our guest, Red Hat CEO Matt Hicks, who began as a developer, got his start tinkering in open source, and was ultimately driven by the unstoppable force of curiosity to take on roles as coach and chief officer.

Matt reflects on the highlights of his career journey, how he managed tradeoffs between his love for coding with his momentum through managerial ranks, and how his passion to be a mentor has been the driving force behind his progress.

Cassidy Williams, who recently joined the C-suite herself, helps to steer the conversation.

Episode notes:

Matt takes us back to the origins of his open source days and the spark that inspired his love for engineering — including the point at which he discovered Linux.

He shares how he began learning from the code itself, which was ultimately a different style of learning than what was available to him at university. Then, it was to the stacks, but not Stack Overflow. Think Barnes and Noble, not YouTube videos.

Imagine trying to navigate getting your first engineering job during the dot-com crash of the late 90s and early 2000s.

We reflect on Matt's experience building projects with his daughter, including an AI-powered doorbell he built himself.

Speaking of insatiable curiousity, we’d like to give a big high five to Wonton, who received the Inquisitive Badge. Thanks for coming on 30 separate days to maintain a positive question track record.

Follow MattBen, and Cassidy.


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